How long will you wait before you consider yourself capable of the best, and of living in accord with reason? You’ve been through the reasoning and accepted the principles. What great master are you waiting for, so that you can stall your improvement until his arrival? You’re no longer a child, but an adult. If you’re negligent and lazy, keep delaying and making a collection of one good intention after another, naming day after day on which you’ll start to take care of yourself, you’ll just go on without getting better, and you’ll live and die miserable.
Right now, consider yourself worthy of living like a grownup, and someone who’s getting better. Let what seems right to you be an iron law. And if anything comes your way that seems like work, or seems tempting or glorious or disgraceful, remember that the struggle is on already, that the Olympics have begun and can’t be delayed, that what you do today – this minute – will determine whether progress is made or lost. Socrates became perfect this way, making everything an opportunity for his improvement, following only reason. Though you’re not yet a Socrates, you should live as though you intend to become a Socrates.
How long will you still wait to think yourself worthy of the best things, and in nothing to transgress against the distinctions set up by the reason? You have received the philosophical principles which you ought to accept, and you have accepted them. What sort of a teacher, then, do you still wait for, that you should put off reforming yourself until he arrives? You are no longer a lad, but already a full-grown man. If you are now neglectful and easy-going, and always making one delay after another, and fixing first one day and then another, after which you will pay attention to yourself, then without realizing it you will make no progress, but, living and dying, will continue to be a layman throughout. Make up your mind, therefore, before it is too late, that the fitting thing for you to do is to live as a mature man who is making progress, and let everything which seems to you to be best be for you a law that must not be transgressed. And if you meet anything that is laborious, or sweet, or held in high repute, or in no repute, remember that now is the contest, and here before you are the Olympic games, and that it is impossible to delay any longer, and that it depends on a single day and a single action, whether progress is lost or saved. This is the way Socrates became what he was, by paying attention to nothing but his reason in everything that he encountered. And even if you are not yet a Socrates, still you ought to live as one who wishes to be a Socrates.
How long will you wait to think yourself worthy of the highest and transgress in nothing the clear pronouncement of reason? You have received the precepts which you ought to accept, and you have accepted them. Why then do you still wait for a master, that you may delay the amendment of yourself till he comes? You are a youth no longer, you are now a full-grown man. If now you are careless and indolent and are always putting off, fixing one day after another as the limit when you mean to begin attending to yourself, then, living or dying, you will make no progress but will continue unawares in ignorance. Therefore make up your mind before it is too late to live as one who is mature and proficient, and let all that seems best to you be a law that you cannot transgress. And if you encounter anything troublesome or pleasant or glorious or inglorious, remember that the hour of struggle is come, the Olympic contest is here and you may put off no longer, and that one day and one action determines whether the progress you have achieved is lost or maintained.
This was how Socrates attained perfection, paying heed to nothing but reason, in all that he encountered. And if you are not yet Socrates, yet ought you to live as one who would wish to be a Socrates.
How long will you then still defer thinking yourself worthy of the best things, and in no matter transgressing the distinctive reason? Have you accepted the theorems (rules), which it was your duty to agree to, and have you agreed to them?
What teacher, then, do you still expect that you defer to him the correction of yourself? You are no longer a youth, but already a full-grown man. If then you are negligent and slothful, and are continually making procrastination after procrastination, and proposal (intention) after proposal, and fixing day after day, after which you will attend to yourself, you will not know that you are not making improvement, but you will continue ignorant (uninstructed) both while you live and till you die. Immediately, then, think it right to live as a full-grown man, and one who is making proficiency, and let everything which appears to you to be the best be to you a law which must not be transgressed. And if anything laborious, or pleasant or glorious or inglorious be presented to you, remember that now is the contest, now are the Olympic games, and they cannot be deferred; and that it depends on one defeat and one giving way that progress is either lost or maintained. Socrates in this way becomes perfect, in all things improving himself, attending to nothing except to reason. But you, though you are not yet a Socrates, ought to live as one who wishes to be a Socrates.
How long will you still delay to hold yourself worthy of the best things, and to transgress in nothing the defining word? You have accepted the maxims by which you ought to live, and do you live by them? What teacher do you still look for, to whom to hand over the task of your correction? You are no longer a boy, but now a full grown man. If, then,you are neglectful and indifferent, and make delay after delay, and form purpose after purpose, and fix again and again the days after which you will begin to attend to yourself, you will not see that you are making no advance, but will be now and always a sensualist, living and dying.
Therefore hold yourself worthy forthwith to live as a man of full age, and with your foot on the path; and let whatever appears to you as the best be to you as an inviolable law. And when anything is presented to you which involves toil, or pleasure, or reputation or the loss of it, remember that now is the conflict, here are the Olympic games, and you can put them off no longer; and that in a single day and in a single trial ground is to be lost or gained.
It was thus that Socrates made himself what he was, on every occasion bringing forward his true self, and never having regard to anything else than Reason, And you, though you are not yet Socrates, yet as one who desires to be Socrates so you ought to live.
How long, then, will you delay to demand of yourself the noblest improvements, and in no instance to transgress the judgments of reason? You have received the philosophic principles with which you ought to be conversant; and you have been conversant with them. For what other master, then, do you wait as an excuse for this delay in self-reformation? You are no longer a boy, but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue to accomplish nothing, and, living and dying, remain of vulgar mind. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best, be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, glory or disgrace, be set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olympiad comes on, nor can it be put off; and that by one failure and defeat honor may be lost - or won. Thus Socrates became perfect, improving himself by everything, following reason alone. And though you are not yet a Socrates, you ought, however, to live as one seeking to be a Socrates.
How long, then, will you put off thinking yourself worthy of the highest improvements and follow the distinctions of reason? You have received the philosophical theorems, with which you ought to be familiar, and you have been familiar with them. What other master, then, do you wait for, to throw upon that the delay of reforming yourself? You are no longer a boy, but a grown man. If, therefore, you will be negligent and slothful, and always add procrastination to procrastination, purpose to purpose, and fix day after day in which you will attend to yourself, you will insensibly continue without proficiency, and, living and dying, persevere in being one of the vulgar. This instant, then, think yourself worthy of living as a man grown up, and a proficient. Let whatever appears to be the best be to you an inviolable law. And if any instance of pain or pleasure, or glory or disgrace, is set before you, remember that now is the combat, now the Olympiad comes on, nor can it be put off. By once being defeated and giving way, proficiency is lost, or by the contrary preserved. Thus Socrates became perfect, improving himself by everything. attending to nothing but reason. And though you are not yet a Socrates, you ought, however, to live as one desirous of becoming a Socrates.
Εἰς ποῖον ἔτι χρόνον ἀναβάλλῃ τὸ τῶν βελτίστων ἀξιοῦν σεαυτὸν καὶ ἐν μηδενὶ παραβαίνειν τὸν διαιροῦντα λόγον; παρείληφας τὰ θεωρήματα, οἷς ἔδει σε συμβάλλειν, καὶ συμβέβληκας. ποῖον οὖν ἔτι διδάσκαλον προσδοκᾷς, ἵνα εἰς ἐκεῖνον ὑπερθῇ τὴν ἐπανόρθωσιν ποιῆσαι τὴν σεαυτοῦ; οὐκ ἔτι εἶ μειράκιον, ἀλλὰ ἀνὴρ ἤδη τέλειος. ἂν νῦν ἀμελήσῃς καὶ ῥᾳθυμήσῃς καὶ ἀεὶ προθέσεις ἐκ προθέσεως ποιῇ καὶ ἡμέρας ἄλλας ἐπ’ ἄλλαις ὁρίζῃς, μεθ’ ἃς προσέξεις σεαυτῷ, λήσεις σεαυτὸν οὐ προκόψας, ἀλλ’ ἰδιώτης διατελέσεις καὶ ζῶν καὶ ἀποθνῄσκων.
ἤδη οὖν ἀξίωσον σεαυτὸν βιοῦν ὡς τέλειον καὶ προκόπτοντα: καὶ πᾶν τὸ βέλτιστον φαινόμενον ἔστω σοι νόμος ἀπαράβατος. κἂν ἐπίπονόν τι ἢ ἡδὺ ἢ ἔνδοξον ἢ ἄδοξον προσάγηται, μέμνησο, ὅτι νῦν ὁ ἀγὼν καὶ ἤδη πάρεστι τὰ Ὀλύμπια καὶ οὐκ ἔστιν ἀναβάλλεσθαι οὐκέτι καὶ ὅτι παρὰ μίαν ἡμέραν καὶ ἓν πρᾶγμα καὶ ἀπόλλυται προκοπὴ καὶ σῴζεται.
Σωκράτης οὕτως ἀπετελέσθη, ἐπὶ πάντων τῶν προσαγομένων αὐτῷ μηδενὶ ἄλλῳ προσέχων ἢ τῷ λόγῳ. σὺ δὲ εἰ καὶ μήπω εἶ Σωκράτης, ὡς Σωκράτης γε εἶναι βουλόμενος ὀφείλεις βιοῦν.